It's often said that games come down to which way the puck decides to bounce. It's likely that members of the West Genesee boys hockey team are wondering what could have been if a few more pucks had bounced their way in the state semifinals versus Greece Saturday night. The Wildcats fell 5-2 to the Thunder in front of a packed Utica Aud.
The game started out hard and physical with two huge checks in the opening seconds. Just a minute in, Greece took a penalty which gave the Wildcats the early momentum.
WG pounded shot after shot at Greece goaltender Parker Bonis, getting four shots in during the advantage before finally D.J. Manzzoni hit a rebound past Bonis at 2:44. Assists on the goal were given to Erich Haney and Ryan Michel.
Another Greece penalty, this time to Greg Ryan for roughing at 5:15, gave West Genny the opportunity to take a two goal lead, but the undefeated Thunder has learned this season not to make the same mistake twice. Thirty seconds into the penalty, Greece's Jeffrey Stenglein picked up the puck behind the Wildcats' net and nearly undefended easily put it past Evan Manzzoni, to tie it up with an unassisted, short-handed goal.
West Genny didn't take long to right the error, however, as Haney shot one past Bonis from the face off circle off assists from D.J. Manzzoni and Adam King just 30 seconds later to take the 2-1 lead.
Just two minutes later, Greece's Riley Bourbonnais took a soft shot from the WG blue line and Stenglein tipped the trickling puck past Evan Manzzoni to tie it up once again.
It wouldn't be the last from Stenglein, either. Just a minute later, at 9:41, Stenglein tipped in another soft goal to take the lead for the first time during the game. The goal was Stenglein's third, giving him a hat trick in just the game's first 10 minutes.